Various - Pre-set (Mute)
Mute Records have recently been concentrating a lot on its back-catalogue of classic electronic music and, while that's very welcome, there's always the danger that they'd lose sight of the new stuff that's happening. Thankfully, that's not the case and this first "Pre-set" compilation shows that they're determined not to neglect new artists. The "Pre-set" series is set to be a collection of music that has been sent to Mute/Novamute and the people at the label think deserves to be heard.
In keeping with Mute's resistance to genre ghettos and broad-based approach to electronic music, there are quite a few different styles on show here. It kicks off with the ambient sounds of This Permanent Now's 'No. 7', which is followed by the harsher and darker sounds of displacer's 'deep'. Evil Mousepad's 'The mustard sniffer' has a much more intense sound, a driving beat, throbbing sounds with a funky edge, like a '70s cop show theme gone industrial, while X*S Club's 'French fuck' is like the initial build-up of a gabber track, but it finishes before it gets anywhere. Bunnyhug's 'Napalm girl' is fairly straightforward but nice electroclash track, with the requisite tinny synths and beats with distorted vocals and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. It's followed a bleepy piece of nonsense from Buoy called 'Twenty-two' that could be something closer to the quirky French dance stuff if they added some more meat to the track, followed by munit's 'it hughts', a more atmospheric piece with more bleepy sounds but a dark underbelly that's fairly impressive.
Andrew Steele's 'doppelganger' is has a bit of a deep house kind of vibe going on, but the track seems unfinished and repetitive, more like the basis of a song than a completed one. Jody K Jenkins picks the pace up a bit with 'Pluck', which starts out like an Orb track, but then mutates into funky piece of dancey electronica and plays with tempos and different styles. Cursor Miner follows it well with 'pressedretina', an upbeat track with a ravey feel, but it's another one that's fairly repetitive and would be better heard on the dancefloor than on CD. T.E.M.P. go for a quirky electro sound with '+1 [4.01 edit]', but, while it's bright and eclectic, it's not really much to get excited about. Finally, Nimp' wrap it all up with 'mm', which ventures slightly into electroclash territory, with a kind of humming vocal over some basic beats and quirky electronic sounds and a hint of disco through it (it has something of a French feel to it, don't ask me why that is).
This is an admirable project from Mute and while none of the acts particularly stand out as the next big thing, there are some interesting experiments in here. I'd imagine that many of the artists are sitting at home pissing around on their computers for much of this stuff and a lot of it has the feel of people making music because they can rather than any particular inspiration. But, a bit of exposure like this should do them the world of good and some of these might develop into something really interesting.